At this time of year, when the sun rises so early, we sometimes (as often as humanly possible) manage to squeeze in a dip in the sea before heading up the hill to start work. Bodysurfing or bellyboarding is a great way to get the most out of these half hour or so "splash and dash" sessions, allowing us to get a load of waves, a bit of exercise from the swim, and to start work totally refreshed, wide awake, and with salt water dripping from our noses. It would be a crime not to, seeing as we have to walk or drive past the beach on the way to work anyway. Our friend Al joined us one morning to document how lucky we are.
The team from Otter Surfboards putting their wooden bodysurfing handplanes and bellyboards through their paces in the waves before work.
Last summer we received an e-mail from one of our friends at Surf Simply; Kerianne, their logistics manager, was spending a summer on Long Island, New York, and wanted a making project. She asked if we'd consider sending out to her a couple of "make-your-own" bodysurfing handplane kits, so that she could have a go at crafting a pair of handplanes over the summer to use in the waves around Montauk and the Hamptons, and then when she returned to Costa Rica. We've had requests for kits in the past, however we'd always much rather run one-day workshops so that we can demonstrate the techniques used and guide attendees in the creation of their water-craft. We made an exception for Kerianne though, to see what it would involve for us to send out handplane blanks, hardware, and instructions. We drew some template options on a couple of handplane blanks, packaged them up and shipped them to New York alongside a shopping list of tools and some basic instructions for her, and waited to hear how she got on. You can read Kerianne's account of her making experience over on the Surf Simply magazine, and we were thrilled when she shared this video edit with us, containing clips of her making in Montauk and then some incredible footage captured by Surf Simply's media team out in the warm tropical waters of Playa Guiones, Costa Rica.
Huge thanks to Kerianne for sharing her story, and to Ru Hill (portrait photograph), Marine Jaud (water photography and footage) and Harry Knight (drone footage) for the wonderful imagery. Check out Surf Simply's coaching programmes, podcast and magazine, here.
A couple of Saturdays ago we packed the workshop into the back of the van and drove half an hour up the coast to Watergate Bay Hotel for our first “workshop on wheels” event of 2017. It was a blustery day, and the waves weren’t much to get excited about which was a blessing in disguise as the hotel’s event space is a glass fronted room with panoramic views across one of the better beach breaks in the county. We were joined by Mike, Graham and Christian and spent a wonderful afternoon templating, cutting, rasping and sanding to create three unique handplanes, ready to be oiled and left overnight in the hope that the surf might clean up the following afternoon (we normally advise several coats of oil applied over several days, but wouldn’t have blamed the guys if they wanted to get in before the end of their weekend breaks at the hotel). Our next “workshop on wheels” will take place at Finisterre’s Bristol store in April; you can book your space here.